Storytelling is a powerful tool used for centuries to convey important messages and lessons. Stories can capture people’s attention, engage their emotions, and inspire action. In recent years, storytelling has become increasingly important in the workplace, as leaders have recognized its potential to motivate employees, build strong teams, and drive business results. In addition to other leadership skills, leaders must be great storytellers.
Storytelling has been shown to activate different parts of the brain than traditional communication methods like facts and figures. When we hear a story, our brains release dopamine, a chemical that helps us feel pleasure and motivation. This chemical response makes us more receptive to information and more likely to remember it. Additionally, stories can help us connect emotionally to a message, which can increase its impact and influence. You may have heard the old saying, “Data tells, stories sell!” A great story helps to make that connection with the audience–in this case, a leader’s team.
Research has found that stories following a narrative arc with a beginning, middle, and end, and including emotional elements, can increase oxytocin levels in the brain. Oxytocin is a hormone associated with increased trust, empathy, and cooperation. (I Power Seed – the “Why”) This means that when leaders use storytelling in the workplace, they can increase their employees’ levels of oxytocin, making them more likely to trust each other and work together effectively. Science shows that storytelling is a powerful leadership tool.
Because of this oxytocin release, stories can be used in the workplace to inspire, motivate, and engage employees. They can help employees understand the company’s values and mission and provide context for decisions that may be difficult to understand. Additionally, stories can be used to create a sense of community and teamwork among employees, as they can share stories that illustrate their shared experiences and goals.
This is very important because a survey by LinkedIn found that 92% of employees said they would be more likely to stay with a company if they felt their work was being used for a greater purpose. Stories make that connection to the company’s goals and mission, and as a result, your people feel more connected to the organizational culture in general and the work they are doing in particular.
The role of leaders in storytelling
Leaders play a critical storytelling role in the workplace. They are responsible for communicating the company’s vision and goals to employees and for inspiring and motivating them to achieve those goals. Additionally, the art of leadership storytelling can be used to build relationships with employees while creating a culture in which team members feel fully informed and free to ask questions and share ideas of their own.
Research from a study conducted by The Center for Creative Leadership found that effective storytelling by leaders can increase engagement, commitment, and performance among employees. When leaders use storytelling to communicate their own personal experiences and connect with their employees on an emotional level, they can build stronger relationships and create a more positive workplace culture.
Storytelling has the power to inspire, motivate, and engage employees in the workplace, to help them see beyond the status quo. Leaders who are skilled storytellers can use this tool to drive business results, build strong teams, and create a culture of openness and transparency. By understanding the science of storytelling, the importance of storytelling in the workplace, and the role of leaders in storytelling, leaders can use this tool to create a more engaged and productive workforce, becoming more effective leaders in the process and ultimately having a major impact on the customer’s experience.
I Power Seeds
Here are our takeaways and thoughts - pause and reflect, then nourish and grow!
I am a FIRM believer in storytelling. When I first heard of using it in the workplace I was skeptical. Now that I use it as a consistent tool, the results are extremely positive. Think of some story or object lessons that you know, personal or otherwise, and share them at a start of a meeting and take notice of how well the meeting starts as well as how it ends the and positive feedback you will receive.
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